Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2019-2020

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us



You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Fall visits -- 1a: Alison and Mark in Staunton

Alison and Mark used to live in nearby Charlottesville, working at the NRAO HQ, before moving to the observatories on Hawaii's Big Island -- they're back for a visit, and we're meant to be meeting up at the annual Fall Foliage Art Show in downtown Waynesboro. 12 October 2019.

There's no way to find anyone in this mob -- we'll have to resort reluctantly to cellphones.

Now we've been instructed to wait at the central intersection and try to look conspicuous.

There's a familiar face. About 40 people back.

Cellphones to the rescue again: we've been spotted. Mark and daughter Alison, and friends Whitney and Tim, advancing upon us.

Tim and Whitney as clouds are moving in. We first met Tim in New Mexico in 1997, and again at the Effelsberg observatory in Germany in 2001, and we're happily meeting Whitney for the first time.

Pavement art in Waynesboro -- not exactly Caravaggio, but a worthy effort.

Starting up the dishwasher in the Old Y

Dinner at the Aioli Mediterranean Restaurant next door (photo by Alison)

Fortifying for a big day tomorrow (photo by Alison)

Off in the morning, 13 October 2019, at a not entirely unreasonable hour. For brunch.

The large building on the left was condemned and vacant, the squatters having been invited to move along, when we left in June, but it's already been thoroughly renovated as low-cost housing and people are already moving in. A very good restaurant, the Taste of India, has opened on the ground floor.

The occasion seems to have been that Tim's jacket matches the color of the parking meter.

Tim and Whitney, soon to be brunching in the warehouse across the creek in the background (photo by Alison)

Just up New Street, the building with the Mansard roof houses the Smith Centre for History and Art.

Crossing Lewis Creek on its way eastward out of town . . .

. . . to the Mill Street Grill, famous for its Sunday brunches, amongst other things

Everyone presently stuffed and lethargic, we're here to show off the Tiffany windows in the old Trinity Episcopal Church, the present building dating from 1855.

It's all locked up tight -- maybe that's a Tiffany window (who knows?).

It's time to go home and everyone have a nice nap (photo by Alison).

West Beverley Street, and the city hall, where we pay our parking tickets

'We found your lost ring'

The Frontier Culture Museum

Reliably good for a fun-filled few hours, our next destination, Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum, featuring reconstructed original buildings from England, Germany, and Ireland, the three main European sources of early settlement in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as . . .

. . . a replica West African village, to illustrate the former homes of many of the early slaves brought to the region, and, a bit farther on in the tour, there is a replica Native American settlement to suggest something of the way of life of the former owners.

We've been told that the number one wife got that nice house in the back. On a subsequent visit, a docent originally from Burundi played drums in a presumably authentic manner.

The English house from the 1600s, dismantled, the pieces numbered, and resurrected here, originally from Hartlebury in Worcestershire

The party is gathering round the information plaque . . .

. . . explaining lots of practical and cultural stuff about each of the buildings. Docents in costume explain the relevant details, answers questions mostly very knowledgeably, and often demonstrate the crafts and household chores.

A fairly well-to-do English village residence, with bedrooms upstairs . . .

. . . and a workshop alongside.

Like Shakespeare's 'second best bed' for his widow

The Irish forge

It's closed today, at least at the moment, but on other visits we've watched blacksmiths making iron nails and other implements when it's in the high 80°F outside.

The Irish farm from the 18th century, brought over from County Tyrone in the Ulster north of Ireland

Thoughts on the life of a hardworking family from the time -- there's a full-size loom weaving loom in the next room.

It all sounds fairly grim. Even before the Famine.

On to the German farm from the 1700s, originally from the Palatinate on the Rhine, a village called Hördt (photo by Alison)

The family residence and workshop

'The Empress of Blandings'

Time for a look inside the house

Comparing notes

This costumed young gentleman, in describing 18th century German cultural life, played us a song on this homemade zither sort of thing.

Weighing the options

Replica wigwams said to represent a small American Indian community in the Great Valley in the early 1700s. Called the Onondaga, the 'people of the mountain', they were a Six Nations people who were at the time generally pro-British -- the rival French called them the Iroquois -- and the Museum's recreated village is called Ganatastwi, 'small town' in the Onondaga dialect of the Iroquoian.

The 1740s American farm (photo by Alison)

This is meant to be a typical early American farm of the 1740s, a 'starter' evidently for someone who dreamt of getting a couple of good crops in and then building a proper house for the family.

Settler families of German, Irish, and English Protestant backgrounds, responding to government offers of land, began arriving in the Valley in the 1720s. Staunton's first known settler is said to have been John Lewis and his family in 1732. A wealthy merchant named William Beverley was granted a huge parcel of land in 1736 that he could divide into lots and sell off to whomever he could attract, and the present town plan of Staunton was laid out in 1746.

This is a better established American farm from the 1820s, moved here from some nearby town

Curious about vintage granaries

Kristin, Mark, and the garden

Mark and Alison, with the 1850s farmhouse in the background

The 1850s house across the way, recently renovated

-- What time does the bus come?

The old schoolhouse (photo by Alison)

That's the disused DeJarnette Sanitarium, founded by Dr J. DeJarnette in 1932, a respected eugenicist and forced sterilizer of defectives; his methods continued into the 1970s, but in 1975 the state turned this into a children's mental hospital. In 1996 that was moved into new facilities, and these buildings have been vacant ever since; the story seems to be that there is too much asbestos in them to renovate them or even to demolish them safely.

Our friend and neighbor Jack Blundell is contemplating the sheep again; he volunteers to drive the go-kart bus around the Museum and is awaiting his next passengers.

Kristin also loves few things more than discussing sheep.

Many of our little group will avail themselves of Jack's kind offer.

Adjacent to the Frontier Culture Museum, there is, on Interstate 81-64, a Contemporary Culture Museum.

Next stop: Alison and Mark's visit bis -- Sherando Lake and Ragged Mountain


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 12 November 2019, 24 February 2020.


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